Vaccines: The Week in Review 26 January 2013

Editor’s Notes:

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pdf version: A pdf of the current issues is available here: Vaccines_The Week in Review_26 January 2013_PDF

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132nd WHO Executive Board — Report by the Director-General

Meeting: 132nd WHO Executive Board
21–29 January 2013
Geneva, Switzerland
Provisional agenda
All documentation for the session

Speech: Report by the Director-General to the WHO Executive Board
Dr Margaret Chan
21 January 2013
Editor’s Excerpt

“…Finally, in a most welcome trend, a new culture of accountability, for resources and results, is emerging. The recommendations of the Commission on information and accountability for women’s and children’s health, which supports Every Woman Every Child, have been the model for several other accountability frameworks, including the one for vaccines which you will be discussing during this session.

Equally welcome is the trend towards independent monitoring, with the Independent Monitoring Board for polio and the independent Expert Review Group for Every Woman Every Child being notable examples. Both are fiercely independent and do not shy away from frank criticism. We need this kind of guidance.

Rigorous mechanisms for accountability hold great promise as a way of spending resources wisely, honouring commitments, fine-tuning programme strategies in line with evidence of results, maintaining the confidence of donors, and winning the support of parliamentarians and ministries of finance.

The independent Expert Review Group issued its first report last September. Its main findings are summarized in your documents. Reports from the Independent Monitoring Board for polio have unquestionably helped reshape the eradication initiative at all levels, from headquarters down to country teams, and brought the initiative ever closer to success.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Concerning the polio situation, I need to speak from the heart. In December, nine volunteers distributing polio vaccines were killed in Pakistan in a targeted and coordinated attack.

This is a despicable and totally unacceptable act of violence. The tragedy hits especially hard as it comes at a time when we have had so much good news.

The last case of polio in India was confirmed on 13 January 2011. India, arguably the most challenging of all the remaining sanctuaries of poliovirus, has now been free of the virus for more than two years. I ask India to keep up the good work.

The Independent Monitoring Board titled its November 2012 report with a question: Polio’s last stand? The report also revised the figure of all but 1% of cases eradicated to 0.1%, and concluded that the prospects for success were more positive than ever.

I am optimistic that we can put this setback behind us quickly. I thank the government of Pakistan for remaining fully committed to polio eradication. I thank the continued dedication of head office staff and teams working in countries. The initial expressions of outrage, nationally and internationally, have turned into an outcry of unwavering support. Like the prospects for success, the determination is stronger than ever.

The country’s civil society and religious leaders have echoed the sentiment of the international community: the killing of humanitarian aid workers is totally unacceptable. The commitment of all spearheading partners is unwavering. We will press ahead. The risk of international spread remains real…”

2012 Annual Letter From Bill Gates

2012 Annual Letter From Bill Gates
Editor’s Excerpts and Bolding

There are still years of work to be done to introduce the diarrhea and pneumonia vaccines into every country. Moreover, global coverage of basic childhood vaccines is around 80 percent, which is good compared to many other health interventions but leaves one out of five children unprotected. We need to recreate the high-level political focus that this issue received during the 1970s, when dedicated effort brought us from just 20 percent coverage to 80 percent coverage in most countries in just a decade…

The foundation’s top priority remains helping to complete the eradication of polio, perhaps the best-known vaccine-preventable disease in the world. I spend a lot of my time learning about the disease and being an advocate for doing what it takes to end polio. At the start of 2011, poliovirus was still spreading in three areas: 10 countries in Africa (with viruses that originated primarily in Nigeria), Afghanistan and Pakistan, and India.

Now India has reached a huge milestone. The country had only one case in 2011, which was recorded on January 13 in West Bengal. So on January 13, 2012, India celebrated its first year of being polio free. The challenge in India was mind-boggling. It’s hard to imagine how you would design a polio campaign that reached every Indian child. More than a billion people live in the country. Massive numbers of families migrate constantly to find work. One of the largest states, Bihar, is flood-prone. In some cases, the vaccine didn’t work as well as it had in other parts of the world, probably because of malnourishment, diarrhea, and other illnesses. But the government kept raising awareness and improving the quality of its campaigns, even in the toughest locations.

The Indian government deserves special credit for this achievement. In 2012 we need to keep India and all the other places that are polio free from getting re-infected.

The biggest focus for 2012 will be improving the polio vaccination campaigns in Nigeria, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I recently visited Chad and Nigeria to meet with leaders there, and it’s clear that we have high-level political support. Still, deploying high-quality vaccination teams and educating parents so that every single child is vaccinated will take a lot of work. In Nigeria our biggest problems are low-quality campaigns and the fact that some parents don’t trust that the vaccine is safe. In Pakistan these problems are compounded by the security situation.

It will be challenging to continue raising the approximately $1 billion per year it takes to run the global campaign. Last year the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Canada, Norway, Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Rotary International provided substantial contributions. Rotary continues to be the heart and soul of polio eradication, supporting the program directly while also taking on a larger role in encouraging other donors to give more. A new partner, FC Barcelona, is spreading the message of polio eradication to millions of football fans across the globe.

We are continuing to invest in studies about how polio spreads and trying to model where we need to intensify the vaccination campaigns. We are also working on new vaccines. Finding every last poliovirus requires good tools along with trained and motivated workers in every single country.

These are enormous obstacles, but the success of the polio eradication program in India and 90 other countries gives me confidence that we can triumph in these final challenging countries and end polio once and for all…

Global Fund Announcements

Global Fund – Announcements:

Germany Makes EUR 1 Billion Contribution to the Global Fund  24 January 2013  –

– Global Fund Executive Director Calls for Focused Action to Fight Infectious Disease 22 January 2013  –

Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said today that concentrated action will achieve significantly greater impact on infectious diseases that threaten maternal and child health.

“We need to move past the tyranny of averages,” said Dr. Dybul. “We all see country and regional average rates of HIV, TB and malaria, but they mask micro-hyper-epidemics where transmission rates are very high.

A micro-hyper epidemic is an outbreak of disease that is highly concentrated among a part of the population, putting a wider population at risk of infection.

“By focusing high-impact interventions where new infections are occurring, countries will get the biggest bang for the buck. We can support them to control major killers – preventing many millions of new infections, and saving millions of lives. That will also save billions of dollars.”

Dr. Dybul was speaking at a global health conference in Oslo entitled, “Accelerating Progress: Saving Women’s and Children’s Lives in the Coming Decade.” In a thematic session on “How to get more health for the money,” Dr. Dybul took part in a discussion focused on commodity supply and distribution…

– Global Fund Appoints Osamu Kunii as Head of Strategy Investment and  Impact21 January 2013

– Mark Dybul Begins as Executive Director of the Global Fund21 January 2013

GAVI announces additional US$25 million in matched pledges from three private organisations

   The GAVI Alliance announced an additional US$25 million in matched pledges from three private organisations at a CEO breakfast hosted by Bill Gates and the UK during the World Economic Forum. The new commitments are being matched by the UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the GAVI Matching Fund. The pledges were made by three partners:

– Comic Relief, described as a UK-based charity that “fights poverty and social injustice through the power of entertainment,” committed an additional £5 million (US$8 million), bringing its total commitment to US$12 million.

– LDS Charities, described as the volunteer-driven relief and development arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pledged an additional US$3 million, bringing its total commitment to US$4.5 million.

– Vodafone, described as one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies, “committed to explore how mobile technology can help increase childhood vaccination levels in sub-Saharan Africa.” This first in-kind contribution to the GAVI Matching Fund initiative is valued at US$1.5 million and matched by the UK Government. The firm first announced its pledge last month.

IVI announces major organizational, strategy changes

 The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) said it “has begun implementing major organizational changes to ensure continued success in both vaccine sciences and public health.” The changes include the election of Dr. Adel A. F. Mahmoud as Chairman of IVI’s Board of Trustees and Dr. Viveka Persson as Vice Chairperson of the Board. Dr. Mahmoud succeeds Professor Ragnar Norrby of the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control. Professor Norrby served as the Chairman of IVI’s Board of Trustees since 2006. IVI also said it appointed new leadership including Dr. Alejandro Cravioto, serving as Chief Scientific Officer and Dr. Georges Thiry, serving as Deputy Director General Portfolio Management.

IVI noted that its new strategic direction includes a new vision statement – Developing Countries Free of Suffering from Infectious Disease – and a new mission statement – Discover, Develop and Deliver Safe, Effective and Affordable Vaccines for the World’s Developing Nations.

Under its new strategic plan, IVI will focus its efforts around the following four goals:

1) Accelerate the development and introduction of safe and effective vaccines;

2) Discover and pursue proof of concept for new vaccine candidates, with a particular on new vaccines against enteric and diarrheal diseases;

3) Advance science driving new achievements in vaccinology, specifically through conducting further research in vaccine-enhancing technology and understanding how the immune system works in response to vaccination; and

4) Contribute to building vaccine technology and systems capacity in developing countries.

The new strategy reinforces IVI’s commitment of ensuring the availability of safe, effective and affordable vaccines to improve the health of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Full media release:

PATH names Dr. Anurag Mairal global program leader for technology tolutions

    PATH said that Dr. Anurag Mairal was named global program leader for Technology Solutions to lead technology solutions group, overseeing research and development, commercialization, and implementation of health technologies in the areas of maternal and neonatal health, nutrition, water and sanitation, health management information systems, reproductive health, vaccine-related technologies, and diagnostics for infectious and noncommunicable diseases. Dr. Mairal has an extensive background in medical device development, collaborating with partners in India, China, and other countries to advance product development, manufacturing, and distribution.

Full media release: